Thursday, October 28, 2004


Missing absentee ballots in Broward Co. could be a catastrophe

Broward County, Florida, has just announced that it is resending some 76,000 absentee ballots. Some 56,000 ballots, asserted by the Elections Office to have been mailed on October 7-8, have not been received.

What happened to 56,000 ballots demands a thorough investigation. It's difficult to imagine such a large mailing "lost" without some criminal activity. But the investigation will have to wait until after the election.

In the meantime, those missing ballots are a real threat to the outcome of the Florida election. For some—home-bound people and travelers—the absentee ballot is a must. But of the total requests, this group does not represent the greater portion.

The majority have requested the ballots as a convenience or as insurance that their vote is counted. So can they just go to the polls and vote?

Not exactly.

[I]f a voter has received an absentee ballot and has not sent it back, they must hand it over to election officials before they can vote on Election Day.

Since you can't return what you haven't received, I made a call to a Florida Supervisor of Election's office to find out what the procedure is for the voter who cannot return his/her absentee ballot. It is this: a poll worker at the precinct must call in to the Elections office to verify that no ballot has been received before the voter may proceed to vote. Even a few thousand such calls would overwhelm any system in the state!

If the Broward Elections office mailed the ballots on or before October 8, as it says, and if the U.S. Postal Service hasn't been able to deliver them by now, I can't be optimistic that this second batch will be delivered on time.

If you are a Florida resident and have requested a ballot that you haven't received, I would urge you to vote before November 2.

Follow-up post:
Broward Co. Florida once again descends into chaos

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